David Mcangus's Reviews > American Psycho

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
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Aug 06, 12

bookshelves: funny-haha, crime, satire
Read from July 27 to August 06, 2012

Well, that was tough.

This is the kind of book you could write a thesis on. During the first hundred pages or so, I wasn't sure if I was impressed or disturbed by how accurately a twenty year old book reflected modern culture. I was actually having a good time laughing with and at Bateman as he observed his paranoid world. This couldn't last forever obviously, you're not reading American, you know, uh, Funny Guy. But it does introduce you into Ellis's style and perhaps get you ready for what's about to come.

And come at me it did like a brick through the window. I'm sure like many, I half waved away other reviewer's claims of the (ultra) sex and violence. I've seen the film many times, and while it is rather violent in places, I've seen worse. So, really, how extreme could it be?

Very.

The first real scene of violence caused me to throw the book away in repulsion of what Ellis had just implanted into my brain... forever. It's not what's happening necessarily that's the horrific part, though in concept it certainly is. You may have seen such scenes in horror films for example. The difference is the length's Ellis is prepared to go in imagining the detail of the horror and how accurately he describes it. Later on, it could be argued this is taken into comic territory, but even then, even when it's so ridicules you're laughing in horror, it's still strictly repulsive.

It also tackles many themes and is deeply intelligent, most of which it's been criticised for. But from my reading, behind the obvious offense there are strong comments on relationships and perception.

Having said all this it's also a very frustrating novel that felt bottomless in the last quarter. Due to fantasy and reality intertwining, any semblance of plot effectively goes out the window, which left this reader at times a bit confused and disorientated. Some of that's good, as I was and still aren't sure what was real and what was not. But even a fake rope would have been appreciated to at least given me the illusion I was following Bateman somewhere concrete.

If nothing else, the novel is original and I doubt anything that is both as smart and deranged as this will be published for quite some time. For that I think, it at least deserves a chance.
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Reading Progress

07/30/2012 page 170
41.0% "Well done Ellis. First time I've had to put a book down for a few minutes in sheer revulsion."
08/06/2012 page 330
79.0% ""No, no... Don't do that Bateman, please, because I know your going to describe it in lurid detail and I'm never going to be able to erase it from my mind...""

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